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3 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

If Barahime had been a traitor then Uji would have been in the clear. 

I don't know that even that would be enough.  He blew up the ancestral home of the Kakita that is pretty hard to come back from even under the most dire of situations.

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10 hours ago, Diogo Salazar said:

I'm trying to recall now which piece of fiction was published that Toturi thinks for a little bit about Hantei XVI and how he was considered a bad Emperor, I might be remembering it wrong though, but it seems that at least the Lion Champion (or at least the Emerald Champion) has access to a different set of historical documents.

You're probably thinking of this, from Tiger Stalks His Prey:

Samurai once tried to convince themselves that the young man who would become Hantei XVI, the socalled Steel Chrysanthemum, was merely arrogant and willful and would, over time, grow into a wise and just ruler. Instead, he had been cruel, paranoid, and destructive, so much so that his own Seppun guards and samurai from the clans had finally killed him rather than risk letting his malignant reign tear the Empire apart at its seams.

When I wrote that, I wondered if Toturi would actually know this--then reasoned that, as a Clan Champion and Emerald Champion, he likely would. There are likely some documents, or even oral accounts, maintained of many of the unvarnished facts of Rokugani history, because the Rokugani aren't dumb and realize that some things just can't be forgotten. However, these "special documents", or whatever they are, would be effectively inaccessible to all but the most senior members of the kuge. The question asked implied a more widespread knowledge, and how the Seppun were "viewed" for it, which simply isn't likely to exist. Publicly, the Empire has a vested interest in maintaining the apparent infallibility of the Hantei line.

As an aside, that's what makes accurate historical documents such a useful McGuffin in role playing games. People will stake their lives on things like historical documents recounting the truth of a battle, or a historical person, or an event or whatever, and having the player characters wanting to get their hands on such for some reason can lead to all sorts of tension and drama in an RPG campaign.

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1 hour ago, DGLaderoute said:

You're probably thinking of this, from Tiger Stalks His Prey:

Samurai once tried to convince themselves that the young man who would become Hantei XVI, the socalled Steel Chrysanthemum, was merely arrogant and willful and would, over time, grow into a wise and just ruler. Instead, he had been cruel, paranoid, and destructive, so much so that his own Seppun guards and samurai from the clans had finally killed him rather than risk letting his malignant reign tear the Empire apart at its seams.

Ha, thanks for remembering which fiction it was and thank you for writing it. My problem with how it was put in the fiction though it seems to be like:

  1. This was common knowledge (to at least Toturi) and he wasn't at all surprised to know that sometimes the Hantei line is fallible.
  2. This wasn't common knowledge to him and once he found out, he took it surprisingly at face value.

The problem I have with 1 is, that if this wasn't common knowledge to the Empire at large (by that, I mean the samurai class) but it was common knowledge to him, it would be nice if this was explicitly mentioned.
While the problem I have with 2 is that if he only found out after becoming Lion Champion or Emerald Champion, we should have been shown his mind breaking down his old assumptions to fit in the new ones. Considering how much Toturi likes to ponder, I think this would have been a nice touch.

In the end, I guess, it's that indeed Hantei XVI is remembered as a horrible Emperor that lost the Mandate From Heaven and so, it was okay for the Seppun Guard to go against him. Of course, the samurai class might know that, while the peasants barely know any of the history of the Empire that wasn't witnessed by the oldest person in the village at best.

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48 minutes ago, Diogo Salazar said:

Ha, thanks for remembering which fiction it was and thank you for writing it. My problem with how it was put in the fiction though it seems to be like:

  1. This was common knowledge (to at least Toturi) and he wasn't at all surprised to know that sometimes the Hantei line is fallible.
  2. This wasn't common knowledge to him and once he found out, he took it surprisingly at face value.

The problem I have with 1 is, that if this wasn't common knowledge to the Empire at large (by that, I mean the samurai class) but it was common knowledge to him, it would be nice if this was explicitly mentioned.
While the problem I have with 2 is that if he only found out after becoming Lion Champion or Emerald Champion, we should have been shown his mind breaking down his old assumptions to fit in the new ones. Considering how much Toturi likes to ponder, I think this would have been a nice touch.

I don't disagree. However, I would like to introduce you to the two words that are the true master of any freelance writer:

WORD COUNT

We writers are allowed to write to a particular word count for a story. In that word count, we have to deliver all the story beats, and accomplish all the dramatic goals, that are intended for the story. There are NEVER enough words to say all the things we would just love to say, or explain, or expand up, or whatever. The essential dramatic purpose of this passage was to show the reader that past "cruel, paranoid and destructive" Emperors had caused great mayhem in the Empire, and then imply that Sotorii could lead to the same thing. I think it accomplished that, but yes, we could have gone on with more explanation as to how Toturi knows that, how common that knowledge is, etc. But that would just be exposition, and worse, exposition that doesn't advance the plot or help develop the characters. And in a 3500 word story or whatever, you simply don't have scope for that, if it's not something absolutely essential to the story.

So, maybe think of it this way. It's not that that story was lacking that information; it's that this discussion, here, is a bit of value-added, a "bonus feature"...you know, like a movie that comes with a voice-over from the director and actors and such, explaining stuff about what you're seeing on-screen.

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15 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

There are NEVER enough words to say all the things we would just love to say, or explain, or expand up, or whatever.

 

So. Much. This.

And it's tangential to the specific point here, but: the majority of the stories I've personally written for L5R have been capped at three thousand words. I think for two of them, I've been permitted to go up to four thousand. By now you all probably have a general sense of how much that feels like, but for context, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America define a short story as anything up to 7500 words. Now, we have the advantage of not needing to make each fiction completely self-contained -- we can get away with skipping a bunch of the exposition we'd have to do for an ordinary tale, and not delivering full closure at the end -- but even so, we're constrained to the bottom *half* of what's usually considered short story territory. So yeah, in DGL's shoes, I likewise would not have chosen to devote words to how Toturi learned about a piece of secret history and how he had reacted to it at the time, when the purpose of bringing that up was mostly to provide context for something happening in the present moment. We're not just writing short stories, we're writing fairly small ones, and it is often tough to work at that length.

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2 hours ago, Kinzen said:

 

So. Much. This.

And it's tangential to the specific point here, but: the majority of the stories I've personally written for L5R have been capped at three thousand words. I think for two of them, I've been permitted to go up to four thousand. By now you all probably have a general sense of how much that feels like, but for context, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America define a short story as anything up to 7500 words. Now, we have the advantage of not needing to make each fiction completely self-contained -- we can get away with skipping a bunch of the exposition we'd have to do for an ordinary tale, and not delivering full closure at the end -- but even so, we're constrained to the bottom *half* of what's usually considered short story territory. So yeah, in DGL's shoes, I likewise would not have chosen to devote words to how Toturi learned about a piece of secret history and how he had reacted to it at the time, when the purpose of bringing that up was mostly to provide context for something happening in the present moment. We're not just writing short stories, we're writing fairly small ones, and it is often tough to work at that length.

Very well put. It's really more like we're writing successive chapters in a LOOOOONG novel. However, each of these "chapters" still has to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end, a plot that advances along the way--both internally to the story, and in terms of the big story--and characters that get developed. In some respects, I find it actually easier to write standalone stuff...OTOH, writing in this shared universe lets us lean on stuff that's come before (if I'm writing about Shoju, for instance, I don't need to explain who Shoju is, his backstory, etc.) So it's like most things--easier in some ways, and harder in others.

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Not bad for a Crane story. Seeing them commit war crimes always helps.

Any hey, given my frequent #KyudenDojiDelendaEst tagging, I can hardly object to the near-total ruination of Kyuden Kakita.

Whatcha wanna bet those six off-duty Lion are wondering just what the **** they were drinking?

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7 hours ago, Schmoozies said:

I don't know that even that would be enough.  He blew up the ancestral home of the Kakita that is pretty hard to come back from even under the most dire of situations.

As I can see it, blowing up Kyuden Kakita is not the problem - whether the castle only holds sentimental value or not (and/or whether this value can be restored later) is not a debate of Honor. The problem is blowing up the Kakita daimyo's unsuspecting wife who was held hostage in the castle. That's... dishonorably rude, so to speak. 

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30 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

The problem is blowing up the Kakita daimyo's unsuspecting wife who was held hostage in the castle.

One could argue that any proper samurai would gladly give their life to deny their enemies a foothold in their Clan's territory.

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12 minutes ago, shineyorkboy said:

any proper samurai would gladly give their life to deny their enemies a foothold in their Clan's territory.

Of course. But there is a difference between a samurai willingly giving up their life AND going to sleep in their bed and waking up in Meido. Barahime did not make a sacrifice - she was turned into collateral damage. If Uji had told her then it would have been okay, but I can see why he didn't do that (Honor dictates that Barahime should order him to stand down and maybe even thwart him by alerting the Lion, causing unnecessary complications). 

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Samurai live to die for the sake of their lord. Sometimes they sacrifice, sometimes they are sacrificed. If a general needs to deploy a sacrificial rearguard he's not necessarily going to ask every solider that's part of that unit if they're okay with being sent on a suicide mission. You can't worry about losing a few pawns if it means eliminating a queen that's running rampant in your rear area.

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5 hours ago, Daigotsu Arashi said:

On the battlefield, all actions are honorable.

The problem is not what he did, is what he use to blow the castle.

Interestingly, I've scored New5R RPG materials, and I have only found 1 mention of gaijin pepper or gunpowder (unless you can find it elsewhere) and, where it is used, in the flavor text for 'cynicism', the speaker doesn't believe such stuff is real.  I don't know if it is really forbidden at all specifically, or if it is just considered unknown and gaijin in new5r. Its late though, so if you remember a better source, I'd appreciate it.

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8 hours ago, KakitaKaori said:

Interestingly, I've scored New5R RPG materials, and I have only found 1 mention of gaijin pepper or gunpowder (unless you can find it elsewhere) and, where it is used, in the flavor text for 'cynicism', the speaker doesn't believe such stuff is real.  I don't know if it is really forbidden at all specifically, or if it is just considered unknown and gaijin in new5r. Its late though, so if you remember a better source, I'd appreciate it.

Like ninja/shinobi used to be.

It's the problem of newkugan and the "canon" all is the same as oldl5r till they say it's otherwise.

Did the battle of the white stag happened?

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2 hours ago, Daigotsu Arashi said:

Did the battle of the white stag happened?

It did, but it was against forces from the Ivory Kingdoms. I don't think anything having to do with Thrane or Merenae has been mentioned yet.

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10 minutes ago, shineyorkboy said:

It did, but it was against forces from the Ivory Kingdoms. I don't think anything having to do with Thrane or Merenae has been mentioned yet.

Wow, now even the sea of Shadows are no threat

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2 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

It did, but it was against forces from the Ivory Kingdoms. I don't think anything having to do with Thrane or Merenae has been mentioned yet.

The gaijin involved in the Battle of White Stag are said to be from Pavarre. (5e Emerald Empire pp15-16)

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2 hours ago, Daigotsu Arashi said:

Wow, now even the sea of Shadows are no threat

The Sea of Shadows remains very  much a threat. Sea-travel between Rokugan and the Ivory Kingdoms is far much more difficult and dangerous because of it. See "Shadowlands", p.14.

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31 minutes ago, Halion said:

The gaijin involved in the Battle of White Stag are said to be from Pavarre. (5e Emerald Empire pp15-16)

That's look more racional, than crosing the sea of Shadows.

Pavarre? Same dog ,different collar? Maybe problems with copywriting with 7th sea.

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I must have misread that when someone posted about it months ago. Although I could have sworn it was mentioned in a fiction at some point, but heck if I'm going to go digging through all of them looking for it.

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19 hours ago, Daigotsu Arashi said:

On the battlefield, all actions are honorable.

The problem is not what he did, is what he use to blow the castle.

Uji seems very concerned with the horror that will be elicited by what he does. The destruction of Cultural Value feels to be the clear concern - a vile sin for a crane, but the focus of the fiction is on why Uji feels he has no better choice. (Really there are only two major story beats in this fiction - Kyuden Kakita gets blown up, and Daidoji Uji grimly decides it is his duty to do it.)

The reaction of the broader empire isn't addressed - Uji is concerned with what other Crane will think. Either because he doesn't care (quite possible) or it will be seen as an internal matter. Had the Lion destroyed Kyuden Kakita that might be an unforgivable act - but for the Crane to blow up their own castle might be viewed very differently. (That said, given the level of misinformation active in the empire at present, we have no idea who will get the blame for all of this. Uji wasn't rushing to let his sentries know it was a harrier strike).

If the methods used were story critical it would have likely been given clearer focus. We are told that Uji is not just familiar with unorthodox but explicitly gaijin tactics, but we don't interrogate the specifics of his plan. It is clear some kind of explosive is used, both from the dramatic description of the results, and the mention of positioning something in specific locations which we can infer are structurally important for the castle.

As to what the harriers use, we get a description of some special resource, not big casks full of nitre, but "several tight paper scrolls and small glittering tsangusuri wards". Off the top of my head I'm not sure what that is but it hints at a creative use of magical objects or something equally esoteric. I don't think any of the standard Asahina wards are of the variety that destroys masonry. This may be a mystery to be later addressed.

Uji does describe the plan as a "disgraceful tactic". I'm inclined to read that as the destruction of the castle, but it is clear that what he's doing here is well outside rokugani military orthodoxy in both goal and execution.

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14 hours ago, KakitaKaori said:

Interestingly, I've scored New5R RPG materials, and I have only found 1 mention of gaijin pepper or gunpowder (unless you can find it elsewhere) and, where it is used, in the flavor text for 'cynicism', the speaker doesn't believe such stuff is real.  I don't know if it is really forbidden at all specifically, or if it is just considered unknown and gaijin in new5r. Its late though, so if you remember a better source, I'd appreciate it.

There is a short sidebar about Gaijin Pepper on page 7 of the Game Master's Kit. It is banned throughout the empire, but certain clan schools are rumoured to use it.

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